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Onus on Australian rights holders to opt out of Internet Archive donation

The Australian Society of Authors (ASA) is alerting Australian authors and publishers that the decision by the National Library of New Zealand (NLNZ) to donate more than 400,000 books to the Internet Archive may affect their Australian books still in copyright.

The ASA said works affected include ‘books by Helen Garner, Tom Keneally, Frank Moorhouse, Gerald Murnane, Sally Morgan, David Malouf, Colin Thiele, Mem Fox, Tim Winton and more’.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc and the Publishers Association of New Zealand Te Rau o Tākupu (PANZ) have criticised the NLNZ decision to donate books from its Overseas Published Collection to the Internet Archive for digitisation, stating that the Internet Archive’s ‘scanning and online distribution of books has been condemned internationally as piracy on a massive scale’.

‘This activity by the Archive is the subject of a major lawsuit by international publishers, representing authors from around the world, and supported by authors’ groups,’  said a joint statement from PEN NZ and PANZ.

The ASA and Australian Publishers Association (APA) have requested that the NLNZ ‘proactively seek permission from any rights holders whose books will be donated to the Internet Archive for digitisation’ but the ASA said it was ‘disappointed to receive a response this week from the NLNZ indicating that, despite our criticisms, they are placing the onus on book creators and publishers to opt-out of the donation’.

‘We urge you to check the list of books NLNZ is donating to Internet Archive, to see if your work is included, particularly your titles which may have been published pre-digitisation,’ said the ASA, adding that rights holders have until 1 December to file an opt out request.

The list can be downloaded here.


Category: Local news